Saturday, September 8, 2012

Core Strength: It's Physical--but It's Also About Activities and Values

As someone very much into exercise, I have heard the term core strength a lot.  It makes me think of crunches and planks.  It makes me think of yoga.  It makes me think of abs, back, and pelvis muscles. And yesterday I was reminded how in this year of training since the race I ran that allows me to register for Boston next year, how I had not concentrated on this issue.  I used the rowing machine at the Y yesterday for the first time in months.  On it, you push back with your legs and pull back with your arms.  You sit on a little seat that slides when you do this.  There is nothing to support the back. That fact was VERY noticeable yesterday.  It reminded me that if I really want to run a great race on Thanksgiving weekend and try for a new half marathon personal best, I am going to have to concentrate hard on regaining some of that core strength in the time leading up to that race.

As I went through the day yesterday (my trips to the Y usually are done by 6:30), I thought about two other interpretations of core strength.  One is in the activities that I do.  I love baking bread.  It is what appears most often in my other blog about being in the kitchen.  I mention it all the time.  When I post pictures to Instagram, I am often posting bread.  I even talked about baking bread during happy hour with masters students yesterday at the end of the day.  I found a recipe for Kaiser rolls on Thursday and made them on Thursday night.  This is one recipe for which I'm not sure there will be any easy shortcuts.  The recipe calls for two hour long risings before the rolls are shaped and then another rising after the rolls are shaped and they require 25 minutes to bake.  That is a long time.  But they were so good.  My wife was impressed by the look at the taste.  She said they reminded her of having a sandwich from a deli.  I plan to make them again and will post next time.  What do I think of as a core strength for an activity--it is the activity that is the core of me.  What can I rely on.  What is it that makes me "me".  What do I know I can go back to and be good at when nothing else in the world seems to be working.  Bread.

And core strength with respect to values?  I interpret that as any value that I live out and that I know I will live out no matter what.  I'm not sure what that is for me.  There are no simple answers.  I know my values are rooted in my faith.  I know I value family.  I know I value hard work--but sometimes there are so many things to work on that even valuing hard work leaves so much undone.  But it is and will remain a challenge to myself--not just to focus on the core strength of my musculoskeletal system.  Not just to focus on my core activities.  But to also focus on my core values.  And to make sure that I continue to live them out every day.  

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